It’s an important question, and one we should all be asking today on the eve of Fashion Revolution Day. This global movement encourages us to be more curious about how our clothes are made, by asking who spun the threads, sewed them together, and grew the cotton in the first place.But while most of us would love to be more socially conscious when we shop, it's not always easy to find the answers. How do we know if our new jeans were made in a sweatshop, or if the person who made that amazing new t-shirt hanging in the wardrobe was paid below minimum wage? So we’ve complied a list of top tips to help you uncover #whomademyclothes:
- Check the label: where is it made? A label must always state where the garment is made. Take note of items made in China and Bangladesh. The people may made them may be working in unfavorable conditions
- Know how you favourite brands rate: download ‘Behind the barcode’. This guide examines and grades 219 Australia wide brands on a scale from F to A+, based on various ethical criteria. http://www.behindthebarcode.org.au
- Learn the lingo: Understand the meaning of key terms linked with ethical fashion such as:
Eco-fashion: fabric and fibers in a garment that have little impact on the environment
Fair trade: ensuring workers have fair living wages and environments
Green: the item positively effects the environment
Environmental: manmade fibers and their potential for recycling
Sustainability: beneficial to present and future generations by changing the current fashion industry towards making a positive impact
Adjusting your mindset will also help if you want to make more ethical or socially conscious choices when you shop. For example:
- Shift your paradigm on price: The lower the cost, the lower the wage. If you purchase an item for $10, it may mean the person who made it is getting paid well below the minimum wage
- Embrace slow fashion: Fast fashion means fast work at a low cost. Purchasing more expensive, timeless items, less frequently will help break the ‘sweat shop’ cycle
- Give yourself a break: Fashion should be fun. We can’t always know exactly where and how each item is made. Just do your best to be aware!
Tomorrow – 24th April – is Fashion Revolution Day. Go out, shop consciously, have fun, take a selfie of the label on your clothes and post it at #howmademyclothes. For those based in Brisbane, pop into the Fashion Revolution Pop Up Shop this Friday or Saturday and say hello.